Skip to comments.Not Letting Dad Die
Posted on 09/24/2010 2:20:17 PM PDT by Headline Bistro
The fact that you are reading this indicates you escaped the abortion holocaust. But dont relax yet. We are all candidates for the growing euthanasia movement.
These oft-repeated words of Msgr. William B. Smith, one of the Churchs best moral theologians until his death last year, came to mind as my father lay in the emergency room and a grave-faced doctor called me, my brother and our mother aside for a consultation. Since this was a top-rated yet secular hospital, I was already reviewing in my mind all I knew about Church teaching regarding ordinary and extraordinary care. But I was not prepared for the ease with which this doctor suggested that we let my dad die peacefully.
My father (still living, thank God, at age 83) suffered a bad fall at home in late August and was rushed to the hospital across the street, where he underwent surgery for a broken femur. He then went to a Catholic rehabilitation facility, where he was progressing slowly in physical therapy when he developed respiratory problems that landed him in the emergency room of another hospital.
So there we were with my dad in pain, barely breathing and unable to speak being pulled aside by an important-looking specialist, as doctors, nurses and interns rushed in and out of the room. He assured us that dad was very sick, and tried to bring us into his confidence by adding, But you already know that. I thought to myself: We do not know that; no one has told us anything definite yet. In a voice that seemed more rehearsed than sincere, he said that we could treat dad aggressively (which sounded rough in his throat) or opt for comfort care (which sounded warm and fuzzy). This is a decision point, he stated. Since my dad does not have an advanced medical directive, we would have to decide whether to insert a breathing tube (aggressive) or simply keep him warm, clean, fed and comfortable until well nature took its course.
Wow! No one had told us even what was wrong with dad or how serious his condition was, and already this M.D. was suggesting that we let him slip away with comfort care.
What kind of doctor are you? I demanded, trying not to sound too insulting. I thought he might be the appointed euthanasia specialist, and was shocked to learn that he was the head of the intensive care unit.
Well, if youre in intensive care, dont you think you should treat him intensively? I said, again trying not to sound too critical.
Of course, he assured, this is the familys decision. He mentioned something about New York state law and concluded, Are we all agreed then on inserting a breathing tube? My mother, my brother and I all agreed. You can always change your mind as we go along, he reminded us. Then he offered a final warning: When people this age fall down and have complications after surgery, lots of bad things usually happen. Somewhere in his flurry of words we heard the term quality of life. My brother told him that our dad had rarely gone out of his apartment in the past four years, so his quality of life was not very exciting to begin with. If he spends the next few years in a wheelchair doing his crossroad puzzles and watching Jeopardy that will be good enough for us, my brother said, again trying not to insult.
It was not a pretty sight as they stuffed breathing and feeding tubes down my fathers throat. They drew the curtain so we couldnt watch. But my dad surprised them all and got off the respirator in three days. Hes breathing fine on his own and being treated for an infection that is going away. Hes still a little confused and sees people in the room who arent there, but the doctor says these hallucinations may be from the trauma of the past month and being confined to a bed for days on end. We pray hell be out of the hospital soon since they are finding fewer and fewer reasons to keep him.
I often think how different things could have been if family members were not so attuned to the tentacles of the culture of death, or if a couple of sons were more interested in their inheritance than in seeing their father living with the high-quality love of family and friends. And what if an elderly spouse, already stressed and confused by the whirl of the emergency room, unwittingly agreed that comfort care sounded better than being aggressive because no one wants to see a loved one suffer? Even my mom could have agreed to something she really didnt want in the rush of the moment.
I wont mention the name of the hospital because other than that one incident in the emergency room, my dad has received great and compassionate care. But I want to thank the late Msgr. Smith, for warning so often about the growing euthanasia ethic, which now has cast a pall over the practice of medicine everywhere.
Death eaters never sleep.
Everyone should have an advanced directive. Don’t leave this decision on the shoulders of your loved ones when they are emotionally upset already. (And certainly don’t leave it on the shoulders of those who you thought were your loved ones, but turned out to be selfish brutes.)
We shouldn’t be required to fill out a form requesting our basic rights. What ever happened to just not killing people?
On the other hand, I had a heart attack from electrolyte imbalance after being sick with a stomach virus for four days. The cardiologist wanted to put in a metal stent (I’m allergic) and told my kids I might not make it out of the hospital alive if he didn’t.
I refused, my kids refused, my sister (who has my medical power of attorney) refused on the basis of my allergy, which the doctor ridiculed.
I left after four days, and that was two years ago. The stent would have failed and inflammation would have killed me, you HAVE to be careful with doctors.
Government mandates have made these situations very difficult for physicians, damned if they do, damned if they don’t.
Wait ‘til you get a taste of electronic medical records. It’s more than just putting your info on a hardrive. My husband has quit after two weeks at a government funded clinic because he was spending his day with his face stuck on the computer answering all the questions the software forces him to answer. He couldn’t tell you what the patient looked like after the visit. Questions included guns in the home, stds, (clinic is fighting questions re: sexual preference).....
We’ve got to get government out of medical care.
We need tort reform.
So doctors and nurses can deliver the quality care they really do want to provide.
This is not about killing people. This is about continuance of care.
That’s a pleasant enough sounding euphemism.
Thats a pleasant enough sounding euphemism.
Probably. My FinL had end stage emphysema in the mid seventies. His only option was to be tethered to a resperator for short time of extra and painful life. The family discussed and decided not to continue to that level of care and he died the next day.
Some technology needs to be discussed.
Pnemonia is known as old man’s friend for good reasons.
And let me know if any trolls show up.
The last few times we’re seen our doctor, it was clear that he was very concerned about the future of medical care. He is a gifted, compassionate man who spends all the time we need with him and then some. We left his office deeply touched by his commitment.
Isn't that why we're all on this thread?
Some technology needs to be discussed.
Excellent. You start. :)
My father-in-law went to the hospital for a short stay. Tests revealed he was full of cancer, and desperately ill.
His oncologist had to deliver a lot of bad news. Words fail to describe his ability to explain the details of Earl’s disease, and yet with incredible sensitivity and kindness.
About 10 years ago my mother had to go to the emergency room. All they saw was a sick old woman, who looked like she was at death’s door.
She had only been in the ER about 30 minutes when I arrived and was met by a doctor just outside where she was being worked on—tubes being inserted, etc.—and he started talking about pulling the plug. I loudly and adamantly informed him that I didn’t want to talk about pulling the plug as she had only been there for a short time and anyway, she would walk out of there.
Side note: My mother later told me she heard everything that was said and my comment that she would “walk out of there” was very powerful.
She lived another 10 years or so and what was her contribution to society during those years?
She became a foster mother for her 7-year-old granddaughter for about six months. She gave love, guidance, wisdom and devotion to her five children for those years. She played the organ every Sunday at her church Sunday School for those years.
She gave a home to two of her grown but slightly off-balance children for those years. She cooked for them, too. She gave me the opportunity to care for her and look after her for those years. She painted my bathroom, she gave and received gifts, she shopped, she annoyed me sometimes, she made me laugh, she made me think for those years. She kept her roses blooming so I guess she brought beauty into the world during those years. She was a magnificent grandmother for those years.
I don’t know if the powers that be would think her life for those last 10 years was a waste of resources, but it certainly wasn’t to her family.
There are still doctors and other medical professionals who believe in the Hippocratic Oath. May God bless them.
I'm not a doctor, but I know they can severely struggle with telling someone of an impending death. However, I can't help but wonder if justifying euthanasia is philosophically pushed to help mitigate the Doctor's angst, and that is not a reason for anyone to die. If in doubt, doctors need to "Buck UP!" They are not veterinarians after all.
You were blessed with her, as she was with you. It is my firm belief that we must be advocates for our loved ones when they are most helpless. Relying on the goodness of others can be a grave mistake.